Wrigley Field renovation details revealed

April 30, 2013 10:00:00 PM PDT
Most Cubs fans attending Wednesday's night game against the Padres at Wrigley Field probably couldn't imagine attending home games anywhere else.

But the possibility is looming after team chairman Tom Ricketts said publicly for the first time on Wednesday that he would consider moving the Cubs.

Ricketts threatened to move the Chicago Cubs out of the North Side if a $500 million renovation deal that includes new signs in the outfield isn't approved.

Ricketts has always insisted his first choice is to improve Wrigley Field and keep the Cubs there. He never even mentioned a second choice--until Wednesday.

"The fact is, if we don't have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, then we'll have to take a look at moving," Ricketts said. "No question."

That comment came as the Cubs unveiled renderings of their planned renovations at the ballpark.

The new drawings show:

  • a 9-story hotel across the street from the Friendly Confines;
  • a 6,000-foot video screen in left field topped by lights;
  • a 1,000-square foot sign in right field and four new signs in the outfield;
  • and an open air plaza outside the stadium.

The proposed 6,000-square-foot jumbotron in left center field is getting the most attention. Some rooftop owners believe it will obstruct their views and have threatened a lawsuit.

The rooftop owners were represented at Wednesday night's meeting of community leaders talking about the proposal and the threat that the team could leave.

"A private business has every opportunity to do what they need to do run their business," said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney.

"They also know from their own business sense how important Wrigley Field is to their business and how important Chicago is to their business," said Mayor Emanuel.

Even though he admits he would look at moving the team if pressed, Ricketts told ABC7 he has spoken with no one from any other city at this point.

"I haven't," Ricketts said. "We've stayed the course. The focus is on getting the deal done with the city."

Most fans at Wednesday night's game were hoping that deal gets done.

"This is the place to be," said Cubs fan Michael Audino. "Whether they've had their ups, their downs, this is the place."

The plan is not a done deal yet. The mayor, alderman, neighbors, two city commissions and the Chicago City Council have to sign off on it.

The Cubs hope to renovate over a five-year period. The club filed the paperwork with the city on Wednesday.


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